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How a Local Entrepreneur Used Grit and Perseverance to Build a Thriving Business

Thursday, November 01, 2018

PaperWorx Design & Printing is a thriving business located in Polk County. Sixteen years ago, owner, Sally, decided to pursue her dream of owning her own business. She has built PaperWorx Design & Printing from the ground up, turning an idea into an established graphic design, marketing, copy shop and printing company. They can take a job from start to finish, beginning with the design work of creating a logo, business cards, brochures and folders, and then printing these materials so that business owners have everything they need to start a business or to operate one. They also print posters, campaign materials, forms, and notecards.  Though they typically work with businesses, they also design and print invitations for weddings and graduations, along with Christmas cards and letters, in addition to other services like copying, lamination, book binding, photo enlargements, scanning and faxing. With National Women’s Business Month being just last month, we wanted to celebrate Sally’s success and learn more about her journey into business ownership. Here is what she had to say -

Q: What inspired you to start your business?  

A: I was nearing my 40th birthday and knew in my heart I had not accomplished my life goals and expectations I had had for myself up to that point, so I ventured out. I had nothing to lose...everything to gain.  I now feel accomplished...even if I were to walk away from it tomorrow.

Q: Why did you start your business in Amery?

A: I know a lot of people here! I had a steady stream of business from the day I opened my doors because I know my customers. Most importantly, I think the type of service-oriented business that I provide is still needed and something the internet cannot replace. My business provides personal customer service and a friendly feeling when you step through the door.  We recognize that we offer a service to people that either they “don’t want to do” or simply “cannot do” themselves. I encourage people to try PaperWorx for their printing and design needs before ordering online because the service we provide here is designed to make the process easier for them, while providing a beautiful end product.

Q: How has being located in Polk County benefited your business?

A: I love Amery and the people here. In addition, I appreciate everything the community currently does to support my business including the private and business sectors. I have given my time and talents back to Amery in appreciation. Also, I enjoy living here. I like that we are a good variety of people and that we all bring something different to the table and are still able to coexist.  I like the Spirit of Amery and I am happy to call it “home” for the past 25 years.

Q: Have you received any assistance, incentives or support from the EDC or community?

A: Of course! The AEDC is continually looking at ways to make sure that “everyone” can succeed...we are a team! Their closest partner, the Amery Community Club, was a testament to the success of my business through the value of my membership with them.  I always encourage all new business owners to be a member of both of these organizations, as they are instrumental in their success. But success does not always come without struggle, and struggle is not failure. When the economy dropped out in 2008, everyone had to make adjustments and hold on tight.  It took many years for businesses to recover and regain from the recession, and some did not. At that time, I wished more than any other time, that I had a husband to support me.

Q: Speaking of… one challenge some entrepreneurs have is the fear of their startup being their only income. What do you say to other women who are interested in starting their own business, but not sure if they should?

A:  I think owning your own business is still considered the “American Dream” but plan on working harder than you can imagine, if you do. You can do it but expect it to be hard work. I experienced a unique opportunity as a woman in my business quest in Amery. This small community supported me as a single, female entrepreneur and they helped tremendously with my success.  I am very grateful.

Q: Has being involved in the community helped your business?

A: Yes, I am also grateful to the Amery Community Club. I can remember in my first year of business I would attend Amery Community Club meetings by myself every month because I knew the importance that being a member would have on by business. It was intimidating at first, as there weren’t as many women attending as there are now, but I just put one lead foot in front of the other lead foot and kept on attending meetings. Eventually it got easier as I began to network with my peers and develop friendships with them as well. In 2013, I became the fifth female President of the Amery Community Club.

Q: What are your future goals?

A: My future goals are to help market the local economy, promote local businesses and the surrounding areas as much as possible.

Lessons learned

Sixteen years ago, Sally decided to take a leap of faith to open her own business. Knowing that she had more potential and more to give, she trusted in herself and put all her efforts into launching and running PaperWorx. It wasn’t easy, but it has been well worth it. She learned several key things along this journey. First, community matters. The support she has received from the residents and other businesses in Amery has played a vital role in her success. Sometimes this required stepping outside of her comfort zone but the more involved she became in the greater business community, the more successful her business became. She also learned a powerful lesson in perseverance. PaperWorx declined when the economy began to struggle but she found a way to “hold on” and has grown her business again as the economy has improved.  She has shown that having a successful business requires having a long-term strategy, something that after sixteen years has paid off. As Sally commented, “I now feel accomplished” and that is the best feeling of all.

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